Game #10: Tucson (4) at Stockton (3) – OT

SOG: TUC (31) – STK (40)

PP: TUC (2/7) – STK (1/4)

TUC SCORING: Merkley (1), Gregoire (1 – SH), Bunting (1 – PP), Burke (3 – PP) 

STK SCORING: Robinson (8 – PP), Froese (6), Ruzicka (1)

Round One: Tucson

In five minutes of real time on Saturday night the Roadrunners went from trailing by one with 40 seconds to play to overtime winners as they met Stockton for the first of four times in the next fourteen days in a matchup of the top two teams in the Pacific Division.

Concluding with a whacky ending that fell in Tucson’s favor, there were many positives to take away from the weekend-opening win, beginning with Nick Merkley’s first goal of the season in the first period.

Continuing what would become a trend on Saturday night, Jeremy Gregoire tacked on his first of the season and also the team’s first shorthanded goal of the season prior to the end of the first period.  The goal was created by an outstanding feed the length of the ice by defenseman Jordan Gross.

After Stockton cut that deficit in the same special teams opportunity that provided the Gregoire goal, the Heat brought the game back to even in the early portions of the second period.

However, thanks to a man that referenced post-game Wednesday that he felt as if he had “King Kong” weighing on his shoulders, Michael Bunting shook the aforementioned gorilla from his back, burying on the power play to give his team an advantage once again.

Coming out of the second intermission a blaze, Stockton converted on one, nearly two, of their 20 shots in the final period of regulation, forcing overtime.  With just 40 seconds to go and Tucson up a man, an odd-angle shot on Prosvetov caused a tense moment before a Heat forward tapped it over the red line and the refs deemed that Stockton had taken the lead. After a gathering of the entire officiating crew, it was ruled that the shot should not have counted, thus pushing the two teems to need more time.

All that was needed of the extra frame was just 25 seconds though, when Brayden Burke slammed home a “no doubt” feed from Lane Pederson after an impressive individual effort from Andy Miele.

Backing the Roadrunners to the win column once again was Ivan Prosvetov, who had 37 saves on 40 shots, moving his record to 3-1.

THEY SAID IT

“That was a huge win for us.  It was a bit of a crazy game but we got a little bit of a bounce there at the end. We were happy about it, took advantage of the moment and now we’re walking away with two points.”

Roadrunners forward Andy Miele following the effort.

DON’T OVERLOOK IT

Faced with a heavy workload of 40 shots on Saturday night, Ivan Prosvetov was largely good once again in just his fourth career start.  

The first-year pro is 3-1 now.

GOTTA SEE IT

On the man advantage to begin the extra frame, Andy Miele got tripped just seconds into the extra frame for what should have sent Tucson to the two-man advantage.  To the surprise of many, there was no call on the play.  Stockton fumbles the puck then in their own end and Miele’s engine makes an incredible effort to setup Lane Pederson in front, who then unselfishly sets up Burke back door to finish the night.

PHOTO OF THE GAME

Photos By Jack Lima

Nothing but a big smile and some love for #10 after Nick Merkley got his first of the year Saturday night.